Kinetics and mechanics of cell adhesion.

Author: C Zhu

Date: 2/7/2000

Journal:Journal of biomechanics




Cell adhesion is mediated by specific interaction between receptors and ligands. Such interaction provides not only physical linkage but also communication between the cell and its environment. The kinetics and mechanics of cell adhesion are coupled, because force can influence the formation and dissociation of receptor-ligand bonds. The kinetic rates and their force dependence determine how likely, how rapidly and how strongly cells bind as well as how long they remain bound. Since adhesion molecules are linked to apposing cellular membranes, their interaction is governed by two-dimensional (2D) kinetics. This is in contrast to the three-dimensional (3D) binding of soluble ligands to cell surface receptors. Unlike the 3D case in which many methods are available for measuring kinetic rates, not until recently have the 2D kinetic rates become experimentally measurable. In this review, I will discuss the recent progress in the experimental methods that enable quantification of the relevant kinetic and mechanical parameters, the fundamental concepts that underlie the physics of the biological phenomena, and the mathematical models that relate functions to the intrinsic properties of the adhesion molecules.